BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC (WWAY) -- Hundreds of swashbucklers flooded Bald Head Island this weekend for its annual Pirate Weekend. But could visitors next year be forced to walk the plank if a ferry fare increase is approved?
For many like Katelynn Horney and her family a trip to Bald Head Island for pirate week can quickly add up.
"It's a small fortune for sure," Horney said.
Part of that small fortune is spent on the ferry ride alone. Horney says this might be her last Pirate Weekend if the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission allows Bald Head Island Transportation Inc. raise the ferry fare by almost double the current rate of $16.
"I couldn't afford it for the whole family," Horney said.
But for others like the Hughes family, who traveled from Arkansas just for Pirate Weekend, a fare increase is understandable.
"Everything is going up," Jennifer Hughes said. "It's sad that we have to pay that, but it's worth it."
As for the organizers of the event, they agree on the ferry company wanting to raise the fare price; but admit a substantial jump in the cost could be detrimental to their cause. The Old Baldy Foundation raises money to make sure the state's oldest lighthouse remains standing.
"We know that approximately 45 percent of our visitation comes over for the day to visit the light house," said Ann Mills, executive director for the Old Baldy Foundation. "We're concerned if the price is too prohibitive people won't be able to afford to come."
The NC Public Utilities Commission is currently reviewing the ferry company's petition. The process has already taken more than three months, and an answer won't be expected any time soon. Bald Head Island Transportation Inc. claims the increase in fare is needed because it has been operating with a deficit for more than a decade.